at the end of the year, like many, i tend to pause & reflect on my priorities, goals etc. what has changed, i suppose, since my brush with the rim greeper is my intensity & my focus. i am able to easily brush off what doesn't matter & i have an inflamed sense of justice, not arrogant or acting as if i know all, i hope, but just intense, loyal, caring & stubborn as hell. not quite but almost fearless. i've had a very good year, am grateful for my health, for my dear & loving husband, for friends, for the ability to purse a non-conformist life of contemplation, exuberance, love, & whimsy. i am a misbehaving fish, that is to say unschooled...
1. MY LIFE WITH CHARLES
all things devoted to our physical, sexual, emotional & financial well-being, including our divine aerie perched high above downtown Ottawa within walking distance to everything good; Charles' strong coffee, amazing meals & baked goods, his photography, my guitars, myriad charmingly uneven clay pots of my own hand, books upon books, a powerful computer, the internet, the radio, an old tv with basic cable & a king-sized bed, & thankfully not including a mortgage, house repairs, debt, a car, car maintenance, jet-setting holidays, wall paper, an ensuite bathroom, fancy ceramic tiles or matching dishes.
2. DEAR FRIENDS
for a long time i have cherished kindred spirits & those who had time to spend with me & attention to give, but my health crisis two years ago showed me how giving & caring friends can actually be, whether they were sitting at my bedside in the hospital, buying groceries for Charles or driving him to the hospital, sending me cards, letters, books & assorted gifts to cheer me, these darlings have been exceptional. i care about them very much, shower them with attention, love & praise, small limited edition copies of chapbooks, music mixes, post cards & visits. these lovely people, & you know who you are, are my family. what i value most in a friend: loyalty, integrity, the ability to teach me something.
3. MY WRITING
i spend much time listening & observing what goes on around me; i read, watch films & tv, listen to music, follow the weather obsessively, visit pubs & cafes, knit, conduct in depth research on a subject, go to concerts on occasion, visit galleries & gardens--all this to stimulate the senses & keep the neurons firing. not as an afterthought, but more as a kind of organic & natural consequence, is the publication of said writing. i do want readers but it is more important for me to write & explore. when i do share my work with readers, i want them to be affected by it. i have a long way to go before this can happen. so far, i haven't really written any agenda-based work, & i'm pretty sure i won't do so. i despise it. i have been fortunate to receive the occasional support from the City of Ottawa & the Ontario Arts Council for which I am grateful, very grateful. such support helps with priority #1.
4. LITERARY OUTREACH
Thru Bywords it is my mission to promote, bolster & support Ottawa's literary community, both its writers & readers, & ensure that out-of-town writers wish to come to the city by giving them a very warm welcome & lots of promotion. Bywords is just one of a plethora of great initiatives started by caring Ottawa residents that debunk the tired old myth that we are a boring gov't town that rolls up its sidewalks at night.
Thru AngelHousePress, i publish, feature & highlight works of great merit that might go otherwise unnoticed. after i got sick, my priorities for AngelHousePress changed a wee bit, or rather they have slowed down. i am not interested in publishing a slew of chapbooks just because or conforming to some regular schedule, but rather the occasional work that thrills or compels or affects in some way. & while i love the tactile beauty & streak of independence the chapbook has to offer, i am also quite enamoured with the possibilities of the Internet for spreading good stuff around to those who want to experience it, & also for presenting said stuff in beautiful ways. & also for connecting kindreds. thanks to the talented & supportive Charles, i am able to do so.
5. COMMUNITY OUTREACH
i am so fortunate, i want to give back. if i had a bunch of money, i'd probably donate it all to the Ottawa General Hospital for saving my life as if their own life depended on it. also i am heart-broken & concerned for the homeless, for those who must go without food, for the war torn, for those who suffer domestic abuse, for the grieving. i look for ways i can offer something, sometimes alas it's just a poem.